The global competition over qualified labour is increasing. Most European countries have reached a stage of development where their society is aging and the structure of their economy is changing due to the technological advancements. Countries and companies are competing in attracting highly skilled and active people. This issue has not been left untouched in Estonia that is also facing considerable labour emigration. The labour market of Estonia needs in the coming years, in addition to the local workforce, approximately 140 000 additional people. The policy analysis gives an overview of what is being done at the national level to solve the problem of the shortage of qualified labour.
The analysis reveals that the immigration of highly skilled labour to Estonia is regulated by migration policy. Separate policies and strategies to attract highly skilled foreign labour have not been developed. Estonian migration policy is rather restrictive than pro-active towards immigration, with its main focus being on facilitating the entry and creating necessary regulatory environment for third country research and development personnel, international students, top specialists and managers, foreign investors and entrepreneurs. Planning of qualified labour is difficult due to the fact that Estonia lacks systematic monitoring of the labour market developments which would allow assessing the situation in the labour market in terms of different positions and skills.
The analysis implied that creating and simplifying the regulatory environment is not enough to attract highly qualified foreign labour. It is also necessary to work systematically on developing the image of Estonia as an attractive country for working and marketing Estonia on the target markets. Appointing a top level spokesperson or high official, who would systematically deal with the image formation and who would meet and negotiate with foreign investors on daily basis would raise the attractiveness of Estonia as a country for working and the interest of the investors. The least costly short term solution for Estonia would be to attract talented international students and support them in finding an employment in Estonia.